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Full text of "The why of the Christian Church : a sermon / by Rev. A. B. Kendall."

The WHY of the 
Christian Church 




A SERMON BY 

REV. A. B. KENDALL. D. 0. 
Pastor of the Christian Church 
BURLINGTON. N. C. 



The WHY of the 
Christian Ghurch 




A SERMON BY 
REV. A. B. KENDALL, D. D. 
Pastor of the Christian Church 
BURLINGTON, N. C. 



PRESS 

THE SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING CO. 
ELON COLLEGE, N. C. 



% jf^ f HEEE should be a "why" to. the 

£ (p\ Christian church, or it should not 
1 j be. A being, or an institution, 
^tiniii^ without a mission to the world, has 

~ no right to exist in the world. If 

the Christian church has not a distinctive serv- 
ice to render the human family, a work that is 
not being done by any other organization, then 
I say let us nail up our doors and get in harness 
with some other organization and save all 
this waste of energy and property. But, breth- 
ren, if there be a "why," then let us find out 
what that "why" is, and, making it our goal, 
push steadily toward it. 

I believe that we have a "why," and that it 
is big enough to engage ail of our powers, and 
divine enough that it should command our 
loyalty. Let us see if this is not true. 

As I study the Christian church and that 
for which it stands, I find underneath its splen- 
did principles a basal principle. Our princi- 
ples are the outgrowth of this Divine principle. 
These are the golden fruit that is the parent 
tree. What is that principle? Let me take 
you to that hour, one of the most solemn 
in the life of Jesus, when he gathered his 
little band of disciples together, for that last 
heart to heart talk, and his last prayer for 
them. In a few moments underneath the 
shadows of the gnarled old olive trees, he 
is to pass through the terrible soul agony 
as he accepts at the Father's hand the bit- 
ter cup. Then the betrayal and after that 
the shameful trial with its mockings and 
scourgings, and then the nails and the spear 



and the cursed cross. He saw it all that night. 
But that was not all that he saw. He was 
looking beyond that cross and thinking of his 
followers and what was to happen to his church 
in the years to be after his death and resur- 
rection; and up through the darkness of that 
solemn hour he sends to the throne of God 
that wonderful prayer that we find in the 
seventeenth chapter of the gospel according 
to John. Surely in a time such as that, 
in that solemn hour, we would expect only 
the most important things to fill his mind, 
We would expect that the petitions of this 
prayer would embody and convey his deep- 
est soul-desires concerning the things most 
vitally connected with the growth and develop- 
ment of his church in the earth. Now, as we 
study this wonderful prayer with that thought 
in mind, what do we discern to be the most 
prominent thought in his mind? The first 
eight verses have to do with his glory. The 
next petition, which has to do with his disci- 
ples, we find in the last sentence of the eleventh 
verse. When his mind turns to the church, 
the first petition that rises to his lips is this 
one: 6 'Holy Father, keep through thine own 
name those whom thou hast given me, that they 
may be one, as we are." When he thought of 
his disciples who were present with him, his 
first thought and petition was for their unity. 
Then with the eye of faith he looks adown the 
centuries and he sees his church growing in 
numbers and power. He also sees the deadly 
foes that would arise to try to destroy her and 
first and foremost among them he sees the same 
danger which threatened his little band; and 
4 



the first petition for his followers of all ages, 
times and climes we find in the twenty-first, 
twenty-second and twenty-third verses of this 
same chapter. What is it? "Neither pray I 
for these alone, but for them also which shall 
believe on me through their word ; that they 
all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and 
I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that 
the .world may believe that thou hast sent me. 
And the glory which thou gavest me I have 
given them ; that they may be one, even as we 
are one : I in them, and thou in me, that they 
may be made perfect in one; and that the 'world 
may know that thou hast sent me, and hast 
loved them, as thou hast loved me. ' ' 

There are only nine distinct petitions in this 
portion of his prayer which has to do directly 
with his followers and his church. What, are 
they? "Keep them from the evil of the world." 
" Sanctify them through thy truth." "That 
they may be with me where I am." "That 
they may behold my glory." What are the 
other five? " That they may be one." Is there 
any question as to what lay heaviest on the 
heart of Jesus on that night of nights? T am 
sure to any honest, candid reader there can 
be none. 

I most firmly believe that the Christian 
church was raised up by God for the distinc- 
tive purpose of answering that five-fold peti- 
tion in this prayer of the great head of the 
church. 

I do not know how clearly the founders of 
the Christian church saw this great purpose, 
or how keenly they realized this great, basal 
principle underneath the organization : but this 
5 



I do know, that every principle of the Chris- 
tian church is a perfect strand in the golden 
cord of this great purpose. 

God was guiding, whether they saw clearly, 
dimly, or not at all, for the ultimate answering 
of his Son's great prayer. 

In the beginning, the church in the earth was 
united. They were ' 6 all with one accord in 
one place.' ' Acts. 2:1 1. c. It was not long, 
however, before divisions began to arise, and 
we hear Paul saying to the church at Corinth : 
' ' Every one of you saith, I am of Paul ; and I 
of Apollos ; and I of Cephas ; and I of Christ. ' ' 
1 Cor. 1:13. "For ye are yet carnal: for 
whereas there is among you envying, and 
strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and 
walk as men? For while one saith, I am of 
Paul ; and another, I am of Apollos ; are ye not 
carnal?' ' 1 Cor. 3:3-4. "I hear that there be 
divisions among you." 1 Cor. 11:18. Later, in 
writing to the church at Rome, he says: "Now 
I beseech you brethren, mark them which cause 
divisions, and offences, contrary to the doctrine 
which ye have learned, and avoid them. For 
they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Rom. 16:17-18 f. c. 

So we see that very early in the history of 
the church sectism sprang up and attempted to 
throttle the life of the infant church. 

There may have been a time when denomina- 
tionalism, and sectarianism, if not right, were 
at least excusable. When after many years the 
church had grown and become rich and power- 
ful it headed up in a mass of corruption, the 
Roman Catholic church. Then from this cor- 
rupt mass there began a breaking away, a 
6 



breaking toward the light. That German monk 
toiling on his knees up Pilate's staircase at 
Rome saw the marvellous light and heard a 
wonderful message in his soul and broke away 
from the darkness and corruption, following 
the golden gleam of divine truth "justification 
by faith/' and out of this breaking toward 
the light came the Lutheran denomination. 
Calvin caught a gleam and he broke away 
along the line of the sovereignty of God, and 
the Presbyterian denomination was the result. 
John Wesley saw the light and he broke away 
along the line of "free moral agency" and 
"free grace," and we have the Methodist de- 
nomination. But these were all breaking to- 
, ward the light. 

Today we have twenty different kinds of 
Lutherans, seventeen brands of Methodists and 
twelve varieties of Presbyterians; to say no- 
thing of the one hundred and one other "ring- 
ed, streaked and speckled" varieties of sectar- 
ian bodies. I ask you in all candor, Is this the 
great ideal Christ had in mind when he found- 
ed his church ? Is this the great brotherhood ? 
Is this what he prayed for on that night of 
sorrows? No, no, NO. A thousand times, No! 

What is the church of Christ? His body. 
Eph. 1:22-23. Paul with this truth concern- 
ing the church as the body of Christ, asks this 
searching question of the sectarian factionists 
at Corinth, "Was Christ divided?" No, not 
a bone of his body was broken and his most 
bitter enemies who crucified him did not pre- 
sume to divide his garments. It remained for 
his professed followers in later years to proceed 
7 



to cut not his garments only, but his real body, 
his church, into sectarian pieces. 

"And one shall say unto him, What are these 
wounds in thine hands ? ' 7 Then he shall answer, 
• k Those with which I was wounded in the house 
of my friends. " Zech. 13:6. War in the body; 
arm against foot; hand against limbs. If this 
were taking place in the physical body of a 
man we would cr}^ out insanity, suicide. And, 
sirs, this is the insanely suicidal policy the 
church has been following for two thousand 
years. Is it any wonder that we have made 
so little progress and have made so little im- 
pression on the world of darkness about us ? " 

If there ever was an excuse for denomination- 
alism and sectarianism with the slightest sem- 
blance of validity and legitimacy, it certainly 
does not exist now. . 

The great denominations have proven the 
truths for which they stood years and years 
ago, and the thing for these different denom- 
inations to do is to get together and with these 
great truths fused in the white heat of love 
into an unbroken weapon of offense and de- 
fence move in one solid, undivided army 
against the hosts of sin and darkness. I take 
my Bible and I turn to Phil. 2:12 and read 
these words, ' 6 Work out your own salvation 
with fear and trembling/ 7 and I have the very 
essence of Armenianism. Wesley himself would 
unqualifiedly put his seal of approval on that. 
And then I read on through the thirteenth 
verse of this same chapter, "For it is God 
which worketh in you, both to will and to do of 
his good pleasure/' And here we have the 
quintessence of Calvinism of the pure Calvin- 
8 



istic brand. But they are both in the Bible, — 
the obverse sides of the shield. God hath join- 
ed them together, let us not longer be guilty of 
keeping them asunder. 

Some good brother may say, "You are fight- 
ing a man of straw, the days of denominational 
hatred and sectarian strife are over." I wish 
that were true, but it isn't. And while it may 
be true that we have done away with the hand- 
saw and the meat-ax as instruments of division 
and have substituted the most modern, razor- 
edged and sterilized instruments, the sectarian 
cutting and slashing still takes place. 

I know that we have gotten away from the 
crude, unrefined manifestation of that sectar- 
ian spirit as it used to reveal itself, but it is 
still alive. 

We could hardly imagine the incident which 
I am about to relate taking place today. This 
incident occurred in the days of my mother's 
girlhood, and I have heard her repeat it more 
than once. A minister of a certain denomina- 
tion was forced to be away from his pulpit 
over Sunday, and in his absence a minister of 
a sister denomination was asked to take his 
place and preach to his people. When the 
good brother returned and learned the awful 
fact that this heretic had occupied the sacred 
desk from which he was wont to proclaim the 
message of divine love and grace, he refused 
to preach from that pulpit until it was torn 
down, placed in the opposite end of the church, 
and the pewing torn loose and made to conform 
therewith. I say we could not imagine this 
taking place in the glorious dawn-light of the 
9 



twentieth century, but refined, covered, the 
same sectarian spirit is still here. 

The Christian church was organized for the 
purpose of doing away, not only with this 
spirit, but with the sects and denominations 
which gave birth to and perpetuates this spirit. 
The Christian church was never intended to 
be a sect or denomination. If it is one it is 
because it has been forced to be one. 

I am sure that the aim of the Christian 
church is right. Christ's prayer and the great 
apostle's exhortations and warnings are proof 
positive that our aim is right. 

Sad to say, there are two different ideas with 
regard to what is meant by this aim. Some- 
contend that what is needed is organic union, 
that having this, all will be well. But this is 
not the great essential. We may have union 
without the faintest shadow of unity. I have 
known a man and a woman to enter into a 
union as husband and wife, but there was 
everything but unity as a result. I know more 
than one local church whose members have 
entered into an organic union, but the spirit 
of unity is as "far from them as the east is 
from the west." Union without unity, and 
that unity the unity of the Spirit would prove 
a curse, beside which the curse of sectarianism 
and denominationalism would fade into utter 
insignificance. 

There are many misguided spirits abroad in 
the land today who are so anxious for union 
at any cost that they would be willing to throw 
away Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, 
heaven, everything dear to the devout Chris- 
tian heart, if only we have union. That might 
10 



be union, but it never, never can be Christian 
union. It never can be that union for which 
Christ agonized. 

If we are to get rid of the sectarian friction 
in the machinery of the church it must never be 
done by filing off the cogs. The moment you do 
chat you have robbed the church of its power. 
What ever else we do we must hold the truth ; 
but adjust the cogs in love. "Holding the 
truth/' never forsaking that, but holding it 
"in love." 

Then there is the other class of people who 
say all that Christ or Paul ever meant was 
unity of the spirit and not organic union. I 
cannot accept this unless they are willing to 
grant that unity of the Spirit will of necessity 
do one of two things, — either bring about at 
once the organic union of all the believers in 
Christ, which seems to me reasonable, or do 
away with all church organization thus elim- 
inating the visible church as an organized body. 

Now let us consider briefly some of the 
things which separate the church of Christ 
today. They are: Human Leaders, Human 
Creeds, Human Names, Human Tests for Mem- 
bership. 

Let us take these one by one and see 
how the Christian church through the very 
genius of its organization eliminates these sep- 
arating walls and at the same time provides 
solid foundation for the union of all true be- 
lievers in Christ. 

I. Our Leader. "'One is your Master, even 
Christ." Matt. 23:8, 10. Not Paul, nor Apol- 
los ; not Cephas, nor Calvin, nor Campbell, nor 
Luther, nor Wesley, nor 'Kelley, nor Stone, 
11 



nor Jones, nor any other human being; but 
Christ. The church in the beginning had no 
popes nor pontiffs ; the perfect Christ was their 
peerless leader. He alone knows the pathway 
perfectly, for he alone has trodden all the dark 
way and then left a guidebook by which we are 
to follow. He alone knows our needs on the 
journey of life and has made provision for 
^ach of us. He alone is the infallible leader. 
He never has made, he never can make a mis- 
take. He alone is the "good Shepherd' ' who 
gave his life for the sheep. Others may have 
given their lives ivith the sheep : he alone for 
them. He alone can go with us through the 
- valley of the shadow of death and bring us in 
safety to the other side. Christ our only lead- 
er. Don't you like that? I do. Let us give 
these noble, godly men their rightful place, 
but do not let them take the place of Christ, 
not in the least degree in the direction of our 
spiritual lives, or of his church. 

II. The Bible Our Only Creed. As a body 
we have no other, we ask no one to subscribe 
to any other. As an individual one may for- 
mulate a creed from the Bible. We must do 
this if we are to be of any force in Christ's 
work. I would not give much for the creed- 
less man or woman in any walk of life. We 
need men and women who believe something 
and believe it with all their might; positive 
beliefs, not negative. As a church we just 
give you the Bible and ask you to believe in 
and obey that. Human creeds have bred ha- 
tred, strife, murder. Human creeds burned a 
Latimer, a Huss, a Ridley. Creed was the in- 
ventor, the manufacturer and the operator of 
12 



the instruments of torture of the Inquisition. 
Creeds are among the most potent causes of 
division in the body of Christ. 

We know our creed is Biblical, for it is the 
Bible itself ; the word of God and not any 
man's interpretation of it. This creed is the 
only absolutely true one. I think all will agree 
that the nearer the Bible a creed is the nearer 
true it is. Our creed is the Bible, nothing more, 
nothing less: therefore it is absolutely true. 
What more does the church need ? What less 
dare she adopt? God knew what his church 
needed for a creed and he formulated a per- 
fect one. How dare we substitute another? 
By taking this Bible as our creed we avoid the 
Charybdis of adding to, and the Scylla of tak- 
ing away from, this Word. 

We have all the truth of all the denomina- 
tions. Is there truth in the Calvinistic creed? 
We have it all. Is there truth in Arminianism ? 
Then it belongs to us. For every truth in all 
creeds came from the Bible. Have they errors ? 
We do not have them, for the Bible is the word 
of God and there is no error in his word. Sure- 
ly this creed ought to be broad enough to make 
a platform on which we can all stand. If we 
cannot unite on this platform, I know not where 
we shall find one on which we shall be able to 
unite. 

III. Our Name. "Christian." This name 
was never taken in any denominational sense. 
Neither was it taken in any exclusive sense, but 
on the contrary it was taken because it was an 
inclusive name. It is a name common to all the 
followers of Christ. I go to a Baptist brother 
and I say, "Are you a Methodist?" "No, sir, 
13 



I am a Baptist." "Are you a Christian?" 
"Yes, sir." I approach a Methodist and I say, 
1 6 Are you a Presbyterian ? " " No, sir. " " Are 
you a Christian?" "Yes, sir." And so I go to 
a member of any of the denominations that 
claim Christ as their Lord and they will not 
own the divisive name claimed by any other 
denomination; but they will, all of them, own 
the one name, Christian. Therefore the name 
was chosen because it was the name for union. 
But that was not the only reason. There are 
many other reasons which mark this as the 
name for all the true followers of Christ. 

The church is the body of Christ and he is 
the head. What right has the body to take 
any other name than that of the head? Sup- 
posing we should do that in the affairs of this 
life, and a man whose head bore the name of 
Jones should decide to call his body by the 
name of Brown or White, what confusion worse 
confounded would result? And the world has 
been full of confusion, and sinners have been 
confused and lost, because "the body of Christ 
has borne another name than that of the head." 

The church is the bride of Christ. What 
business has the bride with any other name 
than that of the bridegroom? I am sure no 
man who cared aught for his wife would feel 
at all pleased, or complimented, if some day 
his wife should say, "I am tired of your name. 
It is not high sounding enough for me. Smith 
is altogether too common. I like the name of 
Vanderbilt, so from this time on I am going to 
take the name of Vanderbilt and drop the name 
Smith." How would the husband receive such 
a proposition? Not very kindly, I am sure. 
14 



He would feel, and he would have a right to 
feel, that she was dishonoring her head, her 
bridegroom. So by taking any other namo 
than that of the bridegroom of the church, we 
dishonor Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom. 
Then again such procedure would cause con- 
fusion in the family relation and such a pro- 
cedure on the part of the church has caused, 
and is causing, confusion in the religious world 
and division in the family of God, thus hinder- 
ing the answer to Christ's prayer, "That they 
all may be one, that the world may believe.' ' 

But there are many who persist that there 
is nothing in a name, anyhow, and they para- 
phrase the words of the immortal Shakespeare 
and say, "A church by any other name is just 
as sweet." Let us see if this is true, 
i Names are very important things in this 
world. I knew of a man a few days ago who 
signed another man's name to a check and now 
he is languishing in durance vile. There sure- 
ly was something in a name that time. I knew 
a man who strove for many years to obtain 
possession of a valuable estate in Texas and the 
one thing which stood in his way, was that 
the name of one of his ancestors did not tally 
right. The name was exceedingly important in 
that case and kept him out of a fortune. 

If a name is of such import in the affairs of 
earthly government, I am sure it must be of 
equal importance in the affairs of the heavenly 
kingdom. 

Then it is a God-given name. I turn over 
to Isaiah 62:2 and I read, "And the Gentiles 
shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy 
glory : and thou shalt be called by a new name, 
15 



which the mouth of the Lord shall name." 

When was that new name to be given ? When 
the Gentiles should see the light. When was 
that new name given? "And the disciples 
were called Christians first at Antioch." Acts 
11 :26. Why at this time and place ? Because 
here first the Gentiles were received into the 
church. Isaiah's prophecy must be fulfilled in 
the coming of the Gentiles before that new 
name could be given and as soon as that occur- 
red the new name promised so long before was 
bestowed. 

Furthermore, the Greek word chrematizo, 
translated "called/' means literally "to be de- 
clared by an oracle," and is invariably used in 
the New Testament in connection with an act 
performed by God himself. 

Luther wished to have his followers take the 
name Christian, but they did not do so. John 
Wesley wished his followers to be called Chris- 
tians, but they were not so called. 

It is related that once John Wesley, in the 
visions of the night, found himself, as he 
thought, at the gates of hell. He knocked and 
asked who were within. "Are there any Rom- 
an Catholics here" he asked. "Yes," was the 
answer, "a great many." "Any Church of 
England men?" "Yes, a great many." "Any 
Independents?" "Yes, a great many." "Any 
Presbyterians?" "Yes, a great many." "Any 
Baptists?" "Yes, a great many." "Any Wes- 
ley an&?" "Yes, a great many." Disappointed 
and dismayed, especially at the last reply, he 
turned his steps upward, and found himself at 
the gates of Paradise, and there he repeated 
the same questions. "Any Wesleyans here?" 
16 



"No." "Any Presbyterians?" "No." "Any 
Church of England men?' 7 "No." "Any 
Koman Catholics?" "No." "Whom have you 
here, then?" he asked in astonishment. "We 
know nothing here, ' ' was the reply, ' ' of any of 
those names you have mentioned. The only 
name of which we know anything here is 
■ Christian. ' We are all Christians here, and of 
these we have a great multitude, which no man 
can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and 
peoples, and tongues." 

No Christians in hell ; nothing but Christians 
in heaven. That suits me. Does it not suit you ? 
I do not of course wish to be understood here 
as using the name Christian in any denomina- 
tional sense, but just to emphasize the fact that 
the name i i Christian ' ' is the only one that will 
get in through the pearly gates. 

Is there any name so precious to any child 
of God ? I do not believe there is. 

When Ptolemy built Pharos, he would have 
his name upon it; but Sostratus, the architect, 
did not think that the king, who only paid the 
money, should get all the credit, while he had 
none: so he put the king's name on the front, 
in plaster ; but underneath, in the eternal gran- 
ite, he cut, deeply enough, "Sostratus." The 
sea dashed against the plaster, and chipped off 
bit by bit. I dare say it lasted out the time of 
Ptolemy; but by and by the plaster was all 
chipped off, and there stood the name ' ' Sos- 
tratus.' 7 So the waves of time will chip from 
the church the human, party names, and bright 
in the light of the eternal glory will shine the 
name, "Christian." 

17 



IV. Christian Character the Only Test 
of Fellowship. The one requisite for admis- 
sion into the eternal glory and a place in the 
church triumphant will not be the mode of 
your baptism, your attitude toward the Heidel- 
berg Confession, the Westminster Confession, 
the Methodist Discipline, or any other ordin- 
ance or creed; but have you so taken Christ 
into your life by faith that you "have been 
made partaker of the Divine nature" and your 
life been revealing the fact of that life as the 
spring of your very being? This will be the 
"shibboleth" when we come to cross the Jor- 
dan. 

And so we believe to gain access into the 
church visible and militant that we should 
have exactly the same test, nothing more and 
nothing less. 

It should be Christian character. That means 
character according to God's and not human 
standards. "Except a man be born again, 
(born from above, born of the Spirit) he can 
not enter, he cannot see, the kingdom of God." 
This is Christ's ultimatum on this subject. And 
the man or woman who has not given evidence, 
in the life, of the new birth revealing itself in 
character, ought not to be admitted into the 
fellowship of the church. Putting a goat in 
with the sheep never made a sheep out of the 
goat. And if the requisite for admission into 
the invisible kingdom be by a new birth then 
admission into the visible church should be the 
same. The church should be the church of the 
re-born and fellowship all who have been born 
again. Any broader doorway into the church 
is too broad for the sanction of God; and any 
18 



narrower way is uncharitable, bigoted, sectar- 
ian. There is an inconsistency in the test of 
fellowship as applied in some of our churches 
today that to the unprejudiced must be ludi- 
crous in the extreme. 

Let us, for example, take a church which 
makes particular mode of baptism a test of 
fellowship. Here is a member of another de- 
nomination who may, or may not, have been 
baptized by that particular mode. Every 
member of the aforesaid church with its bap- 
tismal test may believe most sincerely in the 
piety and Christian character of this man, but 
he seeks membership in this church and is told 
that he must be re-baptized by a minister of 
that church before he can enjoy its fellowship. 
They do not doubt but that he has met the 
divine requirements sufficiently, that God has 
received him and given him the seal of his 
Spirit and enrolled him as a member of the 
church above, but they are just a little more 
particular on earth than they are in heaven. 
They will even invite ministers of the other 
denominations into their pulpits to preach to 
them and pray for them, so sure are they that 
they have been accepted of God, but when it 
comes to uniting with their church there is 
something minus. Surely this is inconsistent. 

"Ah, we make God's love too narrow by false 

limits of our own ; 
And we magnify his strictness with a zeal he 

will not own." 

If a man has sufficiently complied with God's 
requirements that God has accepted him and 
made him one of his children, there ought not 
19 



to be a company of his children anywhere on 
earth that would withhold fellowship from 
such a one. "One is your Master, even Christ, 
and all ye are brethren." No sects in heaven. 
The only test of fellowship there, "Have you 
been born of the Spirit"; is "Christ in you 
the hope of glory"? There should be no other 
test on earth. We believe in Christian char- 
acter as the only test of fellowship. 

How about these principles for Christian un- 
ion ? No human name. The only name a di- 
vinely-given one and one universally claimed 
by the followers of Christ. No man-made creed 
with its imperfections and limitations to follow ; 
just God's word. Not "cribbed, coffined, cab- 
ined and confined" by human doctrines. No 
human leader to follow ; just Christ. What less 
can we have and have Christian union ? What 
more is required as a platform for such a un- 
ion? Is there anything better? Produce it 
and I will take my stand upon it any time. I 
believe with all my heart that no better basis 
for Christian union can be found. There may 
be other bases for union, many of them, but 
they will not be Christian union. Here, I be- 
lieve, is the great danger; that the churches 
will unite upon a basis God will not own. 

The Outlook for Union. It is coming, I 
most assuredly believe. The great words to- 
day are co-operation, unity, amalgamation, get 
together, efficiency and conservation. We see 
the movement in our city electric light plants, 
gas plants and reservoirs, instead of each fam- 
ily having to provide one of its own. Our great 
department stores, the doing away with the 
district country school aiid building, instead of 
20 



a number of these in a township, one fine, big, 
township high school manned by the best corps 
of teachers procurable, and equipped with the 
latest and best school equipment. Impractic- 
able, do you say? The bud of a right ideal of 
today bursts into the full blossom of glorious 
realities tomorrow. But, some one objects, men 
are of different temperaments; therefore we 
must have different denominations to suit these 
different temperaments. There are men of 
feeling and men of doing ; men of emotion and 
men of intellect, and you must have different 
denominations. But it has been wisely said by 
a writer on this subject that "Men can unite 
on the great religious universalities. The ten 
commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, are 
no more denominational than the alphabet or 
the multiplication table. The principles of 
duty to God and our fellowman are not Pres- 
byterian, nor Methodist, nor Baptist. The sim- 
plicities and the universalities appeal to all 
men. The essentials are the things of God and 
Christ, the non-essentials the things of Wesley 
and Calvin and Luther. Temperamentals be- 
long to the family and the parent; universals 
to the church and Christ.' ' 

The demand for conservation of the money 
of our King is going to be a mighty factor in 
bringing about the union of the followers of 
Christ. Think of the awful waste in support- 
ing four churches in a town of one thousand 
population. Four church buildings to be erect- 
ed. Four pastors to be paid. The running ex- 
penses of four plants to keep up, when one 
plant and one minister could take care of the 
work splendidly. Four congregations scrimp- 
21 



ing, scheming, burdened to raise the amount 
necessary to keep their pastors on a starvation 
salary, when the town could splendidly care 
for one church and give their pastor a princely 
salary. Or, better yet, loose three of their min- 
isters for the foreign field and support them in 
their work. Then take the money put into 
denominational schools, occupying often the 
same territory. How much better the money 
could bs expended, and how much better the 
work could be done, if there were but one 
church directing the Christian educational 
work. Or think of the saving that might be 
done through the publishing houses of the de- 
nominations if there were but one church. 

Dr. McCosh tells of a town of six thousand 
inhabitants which united in one church and 
every man, woman and child in that town is 
cared for religiously and there are not twelve 
in that town who do not attend church. I would 
like to have some one find me a town of equal 
population where the place is divided into sects 
with a record that could come anywhere near 
that. 

Thoughtful, Christian business men who are 
constantly studying how to make their own 
business more efficient and at the same time 
run it more economically are going to demand 
union in the interest of efficiency and conserva- 
tion. 

I believe one reason why many of our big 
business men are staying outside the church is 
because they are disgusted with the awful 
waste caused by our little sectarian prejudice, 
narrowness, selfishness. 

This notable article by the Rev. Edward Tal- 

22 



madge Root, taken from the Christian Endeav- 
or World and copied by them from Z ion's Her- 
ald is a mighty plea for union : 

TOO MANY SMALL CHURCHES 

Mr. Root has taken one hundred Massachus- 
etts townships of the smallest populations and 
studied them, in order to get an idea of the 
effect of multiplying churches in such commun- 
ities. His figures are startling. 

In towns that have but one church (their 
average population being 441) the average 
church-membership is 71; in two-church towns 
(average population 710) the average church •- 
membership is 64; in three-church towns (pop- 
ulation 784) the average church-membership is 
52; in four-church towns (population 886) the 
average church-membership fails to 43. 

It is perfectly plain that the result of mul- 
tiplying churcies is a sad decrease in the mem- 
bership of the churches, and that in spite of 
the fact that the churches are multiplied in 
towns that have a larger population. 

There is also a decrease in the amounts given 
for the support of each church. The average 
for the one-church towns is $687 ; for the two- 
church town, $751 ; for the three-church town, 
$614; and for the four-church town, $504. 

There is also an increase in the amount of 
aid received from home-missionary societies. 
The average for the one-church town is $67 ; 
for the two-church town, $24; for the three- 
church town, $140 ; for the four-church town, 
$164. Multiplying churches is costly business, 
as well as depressing. 

A comparison still more striking is one that 
23 



took towns of equal population — ten being one- 
church towns, ten two-church towns, and ten 
three-church towns. The average population 
was 725. 

Here are the church membership figures: 
one-church town, 110; two-church town, 71.4; 
three-church town, 51. 

Here are the average church incomes : one- 
church town, $1.102 ; two-church town, $781 ; 
three-church town, $472. 

Here are the average salaries paid the pas- 
tors: one-church town, $874; two-church town, 
$687 ; three-church town, $473. 

Here are the average amounts received by 
these towns from the home-missionary societies : 
one-church town, $15 ; two-church town, $50 ; 
three-church town, $155. 

These are eloquent figures. They fairly shout 
their lesson: "Get together!" They plead for 
a broader fellowship and a wiser administra- 
tion. 

Are denominational differences worth this 
loss to the Kingdom of God ? 

In the face of these facts, who dare deny that 
sectarianism is the crime of the churches in 
this century? 

Signs of Union. The air is full of signs and 
sounds of union. The Methodist Protestant 
and the United Bhethren are negotiating at 
the present time with regard to an amalgama- 
tion of these two bodies. In Canada the Meth- 
odist Episcopal, Congregationalist, Baptist, 
and Presbyterian churches are in a Federation. 

The churches of New Zealandv and Australia 
are federated. In England all of the Protest- 
24 



ant churches, except the Episcopal, are fed- 
erated in one great Non-Conformist Union. 

Some of the Episcopal Bishops are urging 
in sermon and tract Christian Union. 

This last year (1913) I attended the North 
Carolina State Sunday School Convention, and 
the two addresses which called forth the most 
vociferous applause were, one by a Presbyter- 
ian layman, and one by a Methodist Episcopal 
presiding-elder, both pleading most eloquently 
for Christian Union. 

The following extracts were taken from the 
editorial columns of the Missionary Review of 
the World, issue of July, 1913. 

6 ' God alone knows what answer some of his 
foolish children have to render that last day 
for the hindrances they have put in the way 
of his servants, the missionaries, and the offense 
they have given to the very ones they have pre- 
tended to evangelize. Had the field not been 
divided by rival sects and progress retarded by 
wrnog methods, today there would have been a 
self-supporting church, self-respecting people, 
and far greater progress would have been made 
toward the evangelization of Mohammedans all 
about us. May we not hope that the church 
at home may yet awake and realize the great 
mistake of such work." (Rev. Frederick G. 
Coan, Missionary of the Presbyterian Board, 
Urumia, Persia.) 

" A Union Christian College is planned for 
Manila, to be under the direction of seven Prot- 
estant Missionary Societies. A union church 
is also advocated for the members of the An- 
nual Filipino Conference of the United Breth- 
ren in Christ, who have recently memorialized 
25 



the Executive Committee of the Evangelical 
Union to learn the opinion of the various Prot- 
estant churches and missions with regard to 
forming one United Protestant church in the 
Philippine Islands. The various Protestant 
conferences, presbyteries or associations are 
asked to elect two representatives each and the 
missions two representatives each. The Execu- 
tive Committee of the Evangelical Union is 
asked to convene these representatives to dis- 
cuss difficulties, advantages and methods in- 
volved in forming one United Protestant 
Church. Experience with the Filipino people 
in the provincial centres indicates that they 
would gladly welcome such a move. They are 
tired of the divisions that now exist among 
them." 

"Word comes of another movement for the 
union of the churches of Central India. The 
Jubbulpore Conference on Federation repre- 
senting seven of the leading missionary socie- 
ties working in Central and Western India has 
declared in favor of a federation of all church- 
es that believe in God through Jesus Christ, 
his only Son, our Lord and Savior, and that 
accept the word of God as contained in the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as 
the supreme rule of faith and practice. The 
object of the federation shall be to obtain a 
more perfect manifestation of the unity of his 
disciples, for which the Redeemer prayed." 

"John R. Mott conducted a national mis- 
sionary conference in Shanghai, China, March 
11 to 14 of the year 1913. Delegates were pres- 
ent from the churches of the whole nation, two- 
thirds of the delegates were foreigners and one- 
26 



third Chinese. The Conferences spoke with 
confidence in favor of a single missionary 
church in China, eliminating all Western de- 
nominational lines. Even pending organic un- 
ion, it was urgently recommended that all 
churches should discard every distinctive name 
and assume only the single title, the Christian 
Church in China. Churches which already en- 
joy inter-communion were urged to combine at 
once, while federation local and provincial was 
recommended where churches felt unable to 
surrender denominational peculiarities." 

In Japan the missionaries learned some time 
ago that it was inexpedient to use any other 
name for the church than the Christian Church 
of Japan. 

„ In Japan today there are no Methodist, or 
Baptist, or Congregational, or any other Prot- 
estant evangelical churches bearing denomina- 
tional names. They are simply known as the 
Christian Church of Japan. 

When the missionaries in the early days of 
their work in Japan were confronted with re- 
marks like this, from the heathen Japanese 
whom they would win to Christ, ' ' You have 
thirty Christs ; go home and decide which is the 
right one and then come to us and we will lis- 
ten/ ' and as they realized that this was the 
result of sectarianism, they saw that if they 
were ever to win these people they must drop 
their sectarian names; and the only name, of 
course, that they could get together on was 
the name Christian. 

So it begins to look as though the heathen 
would have to teach us the great necessity of 
27 



the unity of the church "That the world may 
believe." 

Brethren of the Protestant churches of 
America, there is another tremendously im- 
portant reason why we should unite. Not only 
is it necessary that we become a united church 
if we are to do efficient offensive work for 
Christ, but it is now of equal moment that we 
unite for defense. The Roman Hierarchy, if 
I read the signs of the times aright, has no less 
an objective than the making of this nation a 
Roman Catholic country, and at the opportune 
moment she is going to fling the Romish church 
with its solidarity against the divided forces of 
the Protestant church, and we will wake up too 
late to find ourselves in "the land of the free 
and the home of the brave" underneath the 
iron heel of Rome. 

For the conquest of the world for Christ, for 
the salvation of the lost everywhere, for the 
protection of our free and noble institutions, 
for the guarding of our religious liberty, I 
urge, I beg, I plead, let us get together in 
Christian unity and union that we may pre- 
sent one solid united body four-square to every 
enemy of Christ and his cause. God grant that 
his prayer for the unity of his church be soon 
answered. 

Christian church, the little flock with a 
big mission, I charge you be true to your God- 
given principles. Do not truckle, do not com- 
promise, do not lower the standard of your 
great principles even for the sake of union. 

Brethren of the Christian church, I call upon 
you for loyalty to the church with which God 
has entrusted these divine truths, and some 
28 



glad day, having 44 finished the work" the Mas- 
ter has given us to do, we shall receive the ap- 
proval of our divine Leader, Redeemer, Mas- 
ter, Jesus Christ. 



29